Existing home sales grew 2.0% to a seasonally adjusted 5.48 million-unit rate in October from a revised 5.37 million sales pace the previous month, first reported as 5.39 million, the National Association of Realtors announced Tuesday.

The October rate represents a 0.9% decrease from the same month a year ago, but was above the median 5.43 million unit pace predicted by economists polled by IFR Markets.

“Job growth in most of the country continues to carry on at a robust level and is starting to slowly push up wages, which is in turn giving households added assurance that now is a good time to buy a home,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. “While the housing market gained a little more momentum last month, sales are still below year ago levels because low inventory is limiting choices for prospective buyers and keeping price growth elevated.”

“The residual effects on sales from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are still seen in parts of Texas and Florida,” he added. “However, sales should completely bounce back to their pre-storm levels by the end of the year, as demand for buying in these areas was very strong before the storms.”

Sales in the regions were up in October. They were up 4.2% in the Northeast, 2.4% in the West, 1.9% in the South, and 0.8% in the Midwest.

The median sales price was $247,000 in October, down from $247,600 in September, but up 5.5% from a year ago.

Inventory levels dropped 3.2% from the previous month to 1.80 million existing homes, representing a 3.9-month supply at the current pace. Inventory was down 10.4% from the October 2016 level.

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Gary Siegel

Gary Siegel

Gary Siegel has been at The Bond Buyer since 1989, currently covering economic indicators and the Federal Reserve system.